Philly Fan? Pull For Rain
Looking at that weather.com forecast makes it look like things are changing for the better, though that only underscores how much can change in a measly 12 hours. If Game 3 does go off on schedule, 45 year-old Jamie Moyer will take the ball for the Phillies in the franchise's first World Series game in 15 years. It's a good story, with Moyer turning 46 in less than 60 days, facing off against the emerging face off the 2008 playoffs, one Matt Garza, complete with ear plugs and oversized lipper of chew.
If that sounds like a mismatch, it's probably because it is. Moyer was shaky in the NLCS, getting roughed up in a brief cameo in Los Angeles while Matt Garza was dazzling the Red Sox across the country, a feat he followed up with an overpowering seven-inning win in Game 7 that got the Rays to the World Series in the first place.
A lot has been made about Garza's volatility, a trait was peaked in a piqued altercation with catcher Dioner Navarro early in the season's second half. Since the "incident", Rays manager Joe Maddon has talked about Garza turning the proverbial corner, becoming a team-first player who has pitched for his teammates.
That being said, Garza is a pitcher who has proven he thrives on two things: 1) a big stage and 2) a sense of routine, focused on what's expected of him. Right now, Garza expects to be on the mound in Philadelphia Saturday night.
That's where a long rain delay, let alone a one-day postponement, really kicks in. While a soft-tosser like Moyer can get himself warmed up and mentally on-edge with short notice, Garza needs extra times to get his mined framed correctly for big postseason starts. Chip Caray and Ron Darling both talked about the extra time Garza took during warmups before Games 3 and 7 in the ALCS, prep time that could be significantly scaled back whether the Philly opener is delayed or postponed.
There's advantage No. 1 for the Phillies if rain sets in. Advantage No. 2 is much more significant.
Cole Hamels dazzled the Rays in Game 1, and he's exactly the kind of diverse left hander that can give Tampa Bay trouble. Put the puzzle pieces together -- a Game 3 start for Moyer combined with another start on the road for Brett Myers, whose struggles were only slightly less pronounced in Game 2 than they have been all season -- and it becomes clear that the more the Phillies can get out of Hamels, the better.
If Game 3 gets a one-day repreieve, that would set Game 4 back to Monday. Suddenly, Hamels would be available to pitch Game 4 on regular rest, setting him up for a Game 7 appearance in relief on two-days rest. Sure, he wouldn't get in a third start, but Hamels pitching in Game 4 would definitely set the stage for Hamels to have an impact in Game 7.
Naturally, Phillies fans will want to get their home slate started on Saturday. Home teams never want to delay the start of a home field advantage. Yet for once, the Phillies could actually benefit from holding off their own fans, for a full day if at all possible.
That might not be the easiest message for desperately excited Philly fans to swallow, but it's the truth. The trick is just not being the one to deliver news of the delay to fans inside Citizens Bank Park. That's a task fit for a very brave soul, Like Jean-Claude Van Damme. He left his mark on Pittsburgh, maybe this would be a way to break into the Philadelphia market.
The comments to this entry are closed.